Silversun Pickups had a bit of a breakthrough with 2009's Swoon. Moody and fuzzed-out singles like "Substitution" and "Panic Switch" drew new listeners to the band's particular brand of melodic and rhythmically infectious guitar-based rock. They even garnered a Best New Artist nod at the Grammy Awards despite having already developed a cult following after debuting with their 2005 EP, Pikul. All of which makes the band's third studio album, 2012's Neck of the Woods, such a welcome follow-up. Building upon Swoon's layered melodicism and once again showcasing lead singer/songwriter Brian Aubert's knack for evocative, introspective lyrics and fiery, multi-dubbed guitar parts, Neck of the Woods is an even more infectious and nuanced affair. In that sense, not much has really changed for the band since 2009. Working with Grammy-winning producer Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M., Weezer), they've perfected their mix of epic noise rock and ambient guitar anthems. Tracks like the tightly wound "Make Believe" and the equally sinister-sounding "Busy Bees" are dramatic nuggets of impending pop doom that still reveal sections of rhythmically inventive prog-influenced parts showcasing drummer Christopher Guanlao. Elsewhere, the airy, slow-burning lead single "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)," with its atmospheric soundscape backdrop via keyboardist Joe Lester, and the driving, grungy "Mean Spirits" are, as with all of the cuts on Neck of the Woods, perfect pop songs that still make room for Aubert's raging and cinematic guitar parts.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar